Step 4: Alcohol, stress and exhaustion
Bodybuilding is a lifestyle, not a diet or exercise fad. Your entire life will affect your results and the effect of your bodybuilding. It's a good idea to notate your life habits, how much sleep you get, when you wake up, how much alcohol you consume, or what types of foods you eat. Its also a good idea to recognize stress and motivation levels. All of this will play a huge role in how your body responds to the workouts.
Ideally, you should avoid all alcohol during your results period. It’s even better to avoid it long term, but if you are trying to achieve a certain level of performance, weight loss, or muscle definition, alcohol has been shown to pretty much sabotage good results worse than any other contributor. It is high in sugar, high in calories, and alcohol affects the body’s metabolism in other ways. Plus, it makes it harder for you to recover from workouts so you aren’t building back muscle as quickly and you take a lot longer to improve.
It can be pretty hard to get rid of stress entirely, but the good news is that working out reduces your stress levels. Stress can demotivate you, make it easier to skip workouts, and increase your overheating. If you actively work to reduce stress in your life, it will create a reciprocal effect where your workouts are also more effective. Cortisol, a key hormone caused by stress, does a lot of damage to your body when used long term. It can stunt your metabolism and divert your body’s natural (and good) response to exercise stress, making exercise less effective. There are a few things you can do to reduce stress in your normal life, without quitting your job and moving to the bahamas.
First, keep a journal. Write down your extreme emotions and let it be a sounding board. You can meditate. Yoga is a great resource as is a walk through the park.
Next, get plenty of sleep: Too little sleep has a tendency to increase your stress levels and drop your motivation. It makes your cranky and, without enough sleep, your body can’t rebuild your muscles. Ideally you should strive for a minimum of 8 hours a night, but on nights where you fail in that goal, try to get at least 7 hours. Whenever possible with your work schedule, try to go to bed earlier and get up earlier. Early risers tend to stick with exercise goals better than late-risers.
Step 5 Goals, Goals Goals.
Setting a goal and writing it down can make you 40% more effective and likely to reach your goal. Goals should be large and small. Just like progress, you should set large overall goals, but also set weekly goals of little benchmarks. This helps you to notice the progress you are making and pushes you to reach those goals. Larger goals might be a tall performance order, like squatting 200 or 300 lbs, while smaller goals might be to increase your lifting ability by 10 pounds each week. You might also have fitness goals that apply to other areas of your life. Do you want to have more energy interacting with your family, or to have less back pain, or lower your cholesterol?
Write those goals down also!
Its also a good idea to share those goals with friends or family. If you really don’t want to share them with someone in your close circle, then consider an online group. If you share your goals and have accountability for achieving them, then you will do better and progress faster. It will keep you motivated during your down days.
Tools and resources:
We’ve compiled a few tools for you to get started. You can check out our Bodybuilding & Fitness: Key body measurements that are vital which is a great way to regularly measure your muscle size and improvements. Track your biceps, calves, chest, waist against your target goals. You can also track your body fat percentage and weight and keep track of your workout days.
Our Bodybuilding weight training recordgives you an easy tool in which to track your starting point for all your lifts and workouts. Track your starting reps and max weights. Then use the planner to plan and track your upcoming workouts so you can stay on track. The planner is more flexible so you can track squats, leg press, lunges, deadlifts, leg extension, leg curls and more! We also recommend that the body builder tracks standing leg raises, seated calf raises, hip abductor, bench press limits, chest fly and push-ups. Track your pull downs, bent-over row, upright row, shoulder press, shoulder fly, lateral raise, shoulder shrug and pushdown. Triceps extensions, biceps curls, crunches, russian twists, leg raises and back extensions can be tracked as well!
HealthyExercize.com also specializes in high quality durable home gyms that are especially geared toward bodybuilding lifting. Unlike many other home gyms that are lower quality and that cannot handle heavy lifting, our home gyms are especially geared for bodybuilders. Check out our great selection! Our home gyms are ideal for whatever bodybuilding workouts you want to focus on. They include the tools for Olympic weightlifting, the 5 x 5 program, German Volume Training, the FST-7 Training, and the Upper and Lower Split Training Programs. You will need bodybuilding weight machines that include barbells, pull-up station, arm extensions, calf raises, leg press, leg extensions, upright row, and ideally the cable crossover machine.
Good luck on your journey! Comment below to let us know how you are doing!